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Liberals maintain lead as election begins, but face tough road to majority: poll

Click to play video: 'Liberals maintain lead as election begins, but face tough road to majority: poll' Liberals maintain lead as election begins, but face tough road to majority: poll
WATCH: Liberals maintain lead as election begins, but face tough road to majority, poll suggests – Aug 17, 2021

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party remain poised to win next month’s election as the campaign gets underway, a new poll suggests — but the road to a majority government may prove to be a tough one.

The Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found that the Liberals would receive 36 per cent of the vote if the election were held tomorrow, while Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives would earn 31 per cent. Jagmeet Singh’s NDP would get 20 per cent.

Those numbers are virtually the same as the results of Ipsos’ polling from last month, despite 56 per cent of Canadians now saying the election should not have been called during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It doesn’t seem right out of the starting blocks that they’re punishing (Trudeau),” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

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The poll was conducted this past weekend before and after the election was formally called on Sunday, surveying 2,001 Canadians across the country both online and over the phone.

The results suggest the Green Party would receive five per cent of the vote — up two points from last month — while the Bloc Quebecois would receive six per cent nationally, or 28 per cent in Quebec, which marks a one-point drop.

Nearly two out of 10 Canadians are either undecided (13 per cent) or will not vote in this election (four per cent), according to the poll.

There also appears to be an even divide on whether Canadians feel the country is headed in the right direction after six years under a Liberal government, with 48 per cent of poll respondents agreeing and 50 per cent disagreeing.

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Just over 40 per cent of those surveyed said the Trudeau government has done a good job and deserves re-election, and 51 per cent said they approved of the Liberals’ overall performance. Yet 57 per cent said it’s time for another party to take over.

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Bricker says the results show that the question of who’s best equipped to lead the country out of the pandemic and into the future “is pretty much up for grabs.”

“What we’re going to be seeing over the next four or five weeks is … the versions of the future from the major parties starting to take hold,” he said. “And when they do, that’s when we’ll really start to see the competition begin to start.”

Liberals lead Conservatives in key demos

The polling found the Liberals have maintained leads in all regions of the country except for the Prairie provinces, where the Conservatives have held onto their traditional advantages.

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The results suggest O’Toole and the Tories could pick up over half of all votes (53 per cent) in Alberta, while the party boasts twice the amount of support as the Liberals in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (46 per cent versus 23 per cent).

Although the poll suggests the Liberals would earn 40 per cent of the vote in Ontario compared to 31 per cent for the Conservatives, Bricker notes that lead is not strong enough to guarantee Trudeau a return to a majority government.

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Instead, he expects the Liberal leader to spend more time during the campaign in Quebec and British Columbia, where the party has the potential to gain back some of the losses it suffered in 2019. The Liberals would earn 39 per cent of the vote in Quebec and 37 per cent in B.C., according to the poll.

“It doesn’t seem that the government’s making a ton of progress in Ontario, although they do have a pretty big lead,” he said.

“There’s a fair number of seats (in Quebec and B.C.) I would say, based on these numbers, that are up for grabs.”

While the Liberals are currently leading among both men and women as well as younger Canadians, the poll suggests the party is continuing to lead the Conservatives slightly in the valued 55-and-over age group (39 per cent versus 38 per cent).

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Bricker says that advantage among a traditional Tory voting block could be the key to Trudeau’s success, especially during a pandemic election.

“Older voters tend to be the ones that show up the most habitually to vote,” he said. “And in a low turnout election, which this one looks like it’s going to be … being competitive among older voters is really, really important for the Liberal Party.”

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The best chances for O’Toole and the Conservatives to flip that narrative continue to be in Ontario, where the party is proving to be competitive in the suburbs. But Bricker says the Tory leader also has his work cut out for him.

“I think what this shows is that the changing of the leader of the Conservative Party has not made a big difference to their electoral fortunes,” he said.

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“The Liberals are not so far ahead that the Conservatives can’t catch them. But at the same time, we don’t see that the Conservatives have made any big gains over the last little while.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 13 and 16, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 2,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. A sample of n = 1,501 was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources, and respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. A sample of n = 500 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed by live-interview telephone interviewers by landline and cellphone, using random-digit dialing. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. Ipsos abides by the disclosure standards established by the CRIC, found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/

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